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  • Author: Dogan Gurpinar
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This article analyses the evolving discourses over Turkish foreign policy deeply entrenched within the Turkish cultural wars. It demonstrates the process and mechanisms that render Turkish foreign policy an extension of the pursuit of cultural politics and statements of identity. It also assesses how the Middle East was posited not only as a theater of diplomacy but also as a rhetorical gadget over contested Turkish identity, especially pushed by the AKP intelligentsia and policymakers and avidly defied by the secular opposition. Its emphasis is on the Arab Spring and Turkey’s immersion into the Syrian civil war, as these developments exacerbated the overlap between foreign policy making and discourses on foreign policy, particularly since the AKP sought not only diplomatic opportunities but also a regional transnational realignment as a result of the Arab Spring and the regional revolutionary milieu.
  • Topic: Populism, Arab Spring, Syrian War, Islamism, AKP
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Ozan Kuyumcuoglu
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: Developments in Syria over the past eight years prompted the arguments claiming that Early Republican Turkey had turned her back to the Middle East. However, after a close consideration regarding the discourses of the political elite in Turkey, it becomes evident that Early Republican Turkey’s Middle East policy had been tending to rapprochement with Arab countries rather than avoidance of getting involved in regional issues. This article aims to scrutinize the viewpoints of the outstanding political elite of the Late Ottoman and Early Republican periods like Hüseyin Cahit Yalçın and Falih Rıfkı Atay toward Greater Syria (Bilad-al-Sham) in order to understand the historical and intellectual backgrounds of Early Republican Turkey’s Middle East policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, History, Elites, Ottoman Empire
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Birol Baskan
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This paper discusses how Turkey’s bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia and Qatar have changed after the Arab Spring erupted and assesses how the Syrian conflict affected them. The paper argues that Turkey had developed excellent relations with Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the 2000s, but eventually fell out with Saudi Arabia and strengthened its relations with Qatar as the Arab Spring unfolded. The Syrian conflict, in which the three countries colluded to overthrow the Assad regime, has alleviated the deleterious impact of the differences between Saudi Arabia and Turkey on the bilateral relations or, to put it in another way, slowed down the deterioration of Turkey-Saudi Arabia relations. The paper also argues that the geopolitical landscape that pushed Turkey and Saudi Arabia apart also pushed Turkey and Qatar closer.
  • Topic: International Relations, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Qatar
  • Author: Inan Rüma, Mitat Çelikpala
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: Russia and Turkey have been involved in remarkable redefinitions of their foreign policies while navigating through turbulent times in the Post-Cold War era. This has manifested in a search of being recognized as a great power. The tragic civil war in Syria has been the theatre of these ambitions of these two states in highly controversial ways. They have been on the opposite sides until recently on the essential question of the regime change in that country. The risk of a direct fight has even been observed when Turkish air force got a Russian jet down. However, a rapid rapprochement started due to Turkish priority shift from the regime change to the prevention of Kurdish autonomy and the alienation from US; and Russian enthusiasm to get the cooperation of an ardent anti-regime NATO member like Turkey. It can be said that Russia and Turkey have been more process-oriented than result-oriented because they have been compelled to see the limits of their power and influence. As a result, they seem to prefer to focus on the process since they seem to reach their primary objective of showing their salience. All in all, one can only hope for a peaceful and democratic life for Syrians whom tremendously suffered also as a result of an imbroglio of all these global and regional powers’ policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Political Activism, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Çiğdem Nas
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: The article aims to analyze the European Union (EU)’s approach to the Syrian crisis and to evaluate the role it attributes to Turkey. The EU’s approach staggered between supporting transition in Syria to a post-Assad regime and the need to protect itself against spill-over effects of the conflict. Two issues emerged as urgent priorities that determined the EU’s approach to the conflict. One of them was to control the outpouring of refugees fleeing war and oppression in Syria and the other was to deal with the growing threat of terrorism, mainly the ISIL threat. The influx of Syrian refugees through the Aegean and Balkan route to the EU surged in the summer of 2015 leading to practical and political problems for EU countries. In the meantime, ISIL related terror attacks in the EU created a major security problem and led several Member States to bring back border controls in the Schengen area. The EU turned to Turkey and sought Turkey’s cooperation in controlling the refugee flow and also keeping away the ISIL threat. The article looks at cooperation between Turkey and the EU and also points of contention that created hurdles in this cooperation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Refugee Crisis, Syrian War, Borders
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Burcu Sari Karademir
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: Alliances under unipolarity operate with different logic than under bipolarity. Unipolarity makes the twin dangers of abandonment and entrapment more likely for the weaker states that need the unipole for the pursuit of their regional security interests. The article takes the US-Turkish relations within the context of Syrian conflict as exemplary and shows how the strategic discrepancies between the US-Turkish positions paved the way for Turkey’s abandonment in Syria. The article concludes that the unipole’s strategic alliance commitments are no longer reliable for regional allies to assume risky regional restructuring roles as they face the risk of abandonment on the halfway.
  • Topic: International Relations, Alliance, Syrian War, Unipolarity
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, United States of America, Mediterranean
  • Author: Behlül Özkan
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: The aim of this study is to examine how continuities and discontinuities over a period of nearly half a century have shaped the AKP government’s relationship with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and the Assad regime. From the start of the 1980s until the 2011 Arab Uprisings, relations between Turkey, Turkish Islamists, Syria, and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood remained highly complex. Based on the information available from open sources and newspaper archives, this study terms the conflict between the Turkish and Syrian intelligence services that broke out in the 1980s as an “intelligence war.” Both countries viewed the PKK and the Muslim Brotherhood – domestic enemies which they were trying to stamp out – as useful actors to be played off against the other party. While the Syrian/PKK part of the equation was frequently alluded to by the Turkish media and Turkish academia, Turkey’s relations with the Muslim Brotherhood were gradually forgotten. Though open support for the Brotherhood was never an element in Ankara’s official foreign policy, Turkey’s intelligence and security forces did establish ties to the Brotherhood in order to strengthen Turkey’s hand against Syria and made use of the organization insofar as it was in their interest to do so.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, History, Syrian War, Islamism, Muslim Brotherhood
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Serdar Ş. Güner, Dilan E. Koç
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: Various balance and imbalance conditions among the U.S., Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iran are analyzed to present how changes in the direction of conflict and cooperation disturb the regional balance in the Syria conflict. We find that given a stable hostility between the U.S. and Russia, and the stable friendship between Russia and Syria, Turkish preferences over coveting friendship and leaning toward enmity are central in the formation of balances. Turkey-Syria relations constitute a key for the balance in the region. A main Russian foreign-policy problem thus remains to help Turkey and Syria to conduct friendlier relations. A competition or an agreement between the U.S. and Russia over Kurdish independence underlies TFP alignment choices and a high likelihood of a protracted conflict for years to come in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Power Sharing, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria